Saturday, October 22, 2016

Double Your Word Count in Two Weeks

I put a hiatus on editing jobs for the rest of the year so I could finally start writing. I haven't written anything longer than a blog post since I finished Skydiving to Love back in February. My goals for 2017 are to write a novella, Kayla's Challenge for my writing group's Tiny House collection, write and release the third novel in The Circle Bar Ranch series, and write the first in the new Challenge series.

So when I found this post of Janice Thompson's, I paid attention. Who wouldn't want to increase their word count in two weeks?

Just in case this is something you want to do too, I pasted it for you here.


Writers are not all cut from the same cloth. Some race toward the goal, writing five, ten, or even fifteen thousand words a day. Others would think it miraculous to write that many words in a week, or even a month.

No, we’re not all alike, but we all have the same goal in mind: to write the best possible piece and get it into an editor’s capable hands. And we long to do this in a timely manner so that we can move on to the next piece.

So, how can we improve our word count? How can we zip-a-dee-doo-dah toward the goal? Here are a few ideas to speed up the writing process:

1). Give yourself a deadline. If you’re not writing against an editor-induced deadline, give yourself a personal one. You might consider upping the ante a little bit by entering the book in a contest with a very real deadline or by promising your critique partners a certain number of chapters by the end of the week. These self-imposed deadlines become even more real when you write them down. Add them to your calendar.

2). Set a timer. This sounds so simple, but it really works. Set a timer for an hour (or whatever length of time you have to write) and don’t get up out of the chair, no matter what.

3). Set word goals. Tell yourself that you’re not going to get up from the chair until you’ve written a thousand words.

4). Write in chunks of time. When I’m under the gun, I’ll write three times a day, setting a word goal of two thousand words per sitting. For you, it might be five hundred words per sitting. Doesn’t matter. You will get more done if you tell yourself you can do it and if you divide your workday into segments (with downtime in-between).

5). Don’t edit as you go. I know, I know. . .it’s tough! Turn off that internal editor and let the words flow. Write anything that comes to mind, even gibberish. It can be edited out later.

6). If you’re stuck, use word and phrase association. Look at the chapter you’ve just written and pull out words or phrases that refer to some event in the future. Maybe you’ve written that Susie has just learned she’s expecting a baby boy. Instead of pondering what comes next in the story, jump ahead and write the scene where Susie gives birth to her baby boy. Chances are pretty good that scene will pour out of you and will inspire you to write other future scenes.

7). Use writing prompts or other creative writing exercises. Consider a course on creativity. There’s nothing like stirring the imagination to speed up the process.

Above all, value your writing time. Cherish it. Protect it. Don’t give in to the temptation to check your email, browse facebook or do a video chat with a friend. Focus, focus, focus! Write, write, write.

Then, two weeks from now, you can pause to look back over the distance you’ve traveled. I’d be willing to bet you’ll blow yourself away with how much faster you’re writing.

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